ISLAMABAD-With the government authorities and medics calling frequent hand wash as first line of defence against coronavirus, the residents of Islamabad’s sector I-8/1 feel themselves at risk for facing severe water shortage for more than a week.

Moving on upward trajectory, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 119 with some of capital’s areas totally sealed by the administration to avoid further outbreak.

The locality, housing hundreds of residential apartments had been struggling to get water after a tube-well developed technical fault.

The area gets water supply only through four tube wells. Two of them suck out very little water owing to depleted water table. The rest two perform a bit better but one of them was lying closed for over a week after its submersible motor went dysfunctional. Most of residents are government servants, who, come back to homes along with a risk of carrying the virus.

“As per advice, I want to change my dress and wash hands as soon as I get back to home. But I have to wait for long because of no water. My children try to hug and cling and my spouse struggles to keep them away from me which is even a stricter lockdown for them,” said Imtinan a government employee.

The residents term it the failure of both the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad and Capital Development Authority whose blithe lack of concern had risked the lives of thousands of the residents.

“For them it could be just a motor, but for us, it is the matter of our lives and of our children. They ask us to frequently wash hands with soap, but how? We don’t even have water for toilet usage,” said Muhammad Tariq, a resident while leaving his home holding a container to fetch water.

He said as per the standards, we are supposed to regularly clean the frequently touched surfaces like stair grills used by multiple people every hour but it was not possible in these water-less days.

Even the authorities are unable to cope with the water needs through tankers which though has now become a signature of Islamabad streets.

“We have to book for water tanker at 0400 hours in early morning. For two residential blocks, housing 32 apartments, we receive water tanker once a day which lasts only an hour or two,” said Hameed Khan, another resident.

The MCI supplies water at night after testing the resident’s nerves throughout the day.

Owing the government’s stay-at-home directives, the water consumption has also increased compelling the people even the elderly to lift water containers up to the multi-storey buildings.

Asked why the repair of motor was taking too long, an MCI official said as the contractor was not paid timely, so they were least bothered to do their work making the residents bear the brunt of their mismanagement.

“Instead of just photo sessions to show-off their anti-COVID-19 operations, the Mayor of Islamabad and CDA chairman should do something practical to ensure water supply to residents to establish their first line of defence against virus,” said another resident.

Despite repeated attempts to get official comments from CDA Chairman and Mayor of Islamabad on the issue, both did not respond.